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The Untold Truth Of 50 First Dates

Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore have collaborated on three films together. Their first team-up happened in 1998 with "The Wedding Singer," and their most recent was the 2014 comedy "Blended." In between those films was 2004's "50 First Dates," which followed a veterinarian named Henry (Sandler) who falls in love with a teacher named Lucy (Barrymore) who suffers from a form of amnesia that causes her to forget him with each new day, leading to a series of misadventures as Henry tries to win her over numerous times.

All these years later, "50 First Dates" remains one of Sandler's better comedies. With a high concept premise that sets it about from the average rom-com, there are actually some interesting secrets that fans might not know about the production of the film. From some very different script drafts to real-life benefits for people dealing with memory loss, here are some surprising facts about "50 First Dates."

It was originally a drama (with a different title)

Many of Sandler's comedies share a lot in common in terms of style and plot. His earliest films, like "The Waterboy" and "Happy Gilmore," followed a young man who lacks responsibility and has a penchant for displaying loud and annoying child-like behavior. As Sandler's career has gone on, his leading man character has gotten a little more mature (even if the jokes have not). Much of his comedy straddles the line between family-friendly and raunchy, and you can always count on some of his old comedy pals to make an appearance.

That doesn't mean Sandler hasn't switched it up over the years. Films like "Punch Drunk Love" and "Uncut Gems" prove that he's just as adept at dramatic turns as he is at wacky punchlines. As it turns out, "50 First Dates" could have been one of those dramas, but the tone changed when Sandler signed on. Once the comedian came onboard, Barrymore told The Huffington Post that the script was reworked into the film we know today.

The film also had a completely different title, originally going by "50 First Kisses." According to an Entertainment Weekly interview with director Peter Segal, the title was changed in order to appeal more to Sandler's target demographic. "Marketing found that the term 'kisses' was turning off guys," Segal explained, "so they changed it to '50 First Dates.'"

It wasn't always going to be set in Hawaii

In addition to almost being a completely different genre, the film was also supposed to take place in a completely different state. The island of Oahu plays a big role in the finished version of "50 First Dates," but as Segal told EW, the film was originally going to take place in Seattle. The change to a more colorful tropic setting happened while the script was being rewritten to achieve a more comedic tone.

According to Segal, most of the earlier script took place in a café, but Sandler's rewrites opened up most of the movie. "Once I encouraged Adam to open up the movie and the script to write new scenes in the Kualoa Ranch, then came all the ideas of tying him up and using the penguin as a decoy, and Drew saving Adam with the baseball bat, kicking Rob Schneider's a**," the director said. "All those were a result of that, and they became some of the more memorable, hilarious scenes in the movie that were not there originally when it took place all in the café. It was fun to open that up."

The alternate ending

The final point that Segal made in his interview was that the ending of the film cold have been much different. When it was released in theaters, "50 First Dates" ended with Henry and Lucy getting married. When Lucy wakes up every morning, a videotape is waiting for her. On this tape, she relives the accident that took her memory, but she also sees that she's happily married with a daughter. It's a sweet ending to an already sweet film, but the original finale was a little more low-key.

According to Segal, a videotape wasn't the way Lucy was going to remember what happened to her. Instead, it was a mural that she painted describing the events of her life, which would be the first thing she looks at when she wakes up before she sees Henry in her bed with her. This would have been a callback to Henry and Lucy's first time waking up in bed together, but was changed during production.

Five remakes of 50 First Dates

Hollywood has been remaking films for about as long as it's been making them. An especially reliable business is making American versions of foreign films from across the world. What may not be as well known in America is that other countries do this to English-language films as well. With a high concept that carries as much universal appeal as the one at the center of "50 First Dates," it's perhaps no surprise that the comedy has had the honor of being remade for international audiences. In fact, the Sandler vehicle has been remade a few times, in a few different languages.

According to IMDb, there have been five different remakes. The first was an Iranian movie titled "Chap dast" in 2006. This was followed by the Indian film "Gojiri" in 2007. It wasn't until a decade later that two more remakes would arrive. Thre was the Turkish film "First Kiss (Ilk Öpücük)" in 2017, and the Japanese film "50-kai-me no fasuto kisu: 50 First Kisses" in 2018. The most recent remake was the 2019 Mexican film "Como si fuerta la primera vez."

The director knows some of the jokes wouldn't work today

Adam Sandler films are an acquired taste. The humor can be very juvenile, and at times highly inappropriate. But then again, there are a lot of comedies that featured outdated humor that used to seem funny to a general audience, but is now just plain cringeworthy. A minor character within "50 First Dates" is Henry's assistant Alexa, who's presented as someone who's gender can't be determined. Their character is written specifically as a big joke, sometimes with regards to their androgynous appearance. They're also the victim of several physical jokes, like the scene in which Alexa gets vomited on by a seal and Henry high-fives the animal for doing so.

But looking back, director Peter Segal has acknowledged why a character like Alexa is so problematic, and that a character like that wouldn't fly today. As general audiences continue to become more aware of issues regarding gender and sexuality, it's clearer now that comedy like this can all too easily turn cruel. It's a subject Segal would probably choose to avoid altogether in the age of social media.

Rob Schneider's Ula was Sandler's idea

Alexa may cause a stir, but what about Ula? Another friend of Henry's, Ula is another character who is there simply to be one big running gag throughout the film. Always smoking marijuana and getting into trouble with his wife, Ula's more memorable moments include getting bitten by a shark and getting beaten with a bat by Lucy. In the same interview where he discussed the problems with the Alexa character, Peter Segal confirmed that Ula was based on a Hawaiian person Sandler met before making the movie.

As funny as Ula can be at times, this character hasn't really aged well either. Not only is Schneider not native Hawaiian (he's half-Filipino), but this is one of many instances where Schneider portrays a character of a different ethnicity (via ScreenCrush), something the actor has done way more times then he probably should have.

50 First Dates inspired a treatment for real-life dementia patients

The ending of "50 First Dates" is heartwarming — even more so when you know that it inspired a technique that's been applied to real people. In 2015, NBC 4 New York reported about a 94-year-old man named Louis Irving who would wake up every morning and watch a video designed to remind him of his life and his family. As part of a program by the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, residents who are suffering from dementia are given these videos made by family members to help them remember crucial details.

This practice is sweet and can seem like a good way to keep a close relationship with those who suffer from memory loss. But it also raises the question of what would have happened if the filmmakers had gone with the alternate ending instead. Would this program have led to the production of murals instead of videos? And would that have been as effective as the videos? Or would this home even try to adopt a program like that at all?

Sandler's wife makes a cameo

It wouldn't be an Adam Sandler movie without some appearances and cameos from his friends and family. In addition to Rob Schneider, the film also features comedians such as Blake Clark, Kevin James, Maya Rudolph, and Dan Aykroyd. The film also has an appearance from Adam Sandler's wife Jackie Sandler, who has made cameos in several of his films. She appears briefly as a dentist in a scene in which she's talking with a patient about getting involved with Sandler's character, who is afraid of commitment before he falls in love with Lucy.

According to her IMDb page, Jackie Sandler has been appearing in Adam's films even before the two got married in 2003. She has appeared in "That's My Boy," "Blended," "The Do-Over" and "Hubie Halloween." She's also made appearances in some Kevin James projects like "The King of Queens" series and the Netflix movie "Home Team."

Does Lucy's condition exist?

The condition that Drew Barrymore's Lucy has is called Goldfield Syndrome, which causes her to be unable to remember anything that happened the day before and wake up believing she is living the same day over and over again. Even though Adam Sandler comedies aren't typically concerned with getting a lot of scientific facts straight or being completely grounded in reality, one might wonder if her condition is actually real. In actual fact, the disease in the film is a stand in for the real-life condition known as anterograde syndrome, which is commonly associated with short-term memory loss.

But that doesn't mean there haven't similar cases in real life. Cosmopolitan reported (through several different sources like The Daily Mail) on a woman who suffered amnesia after two vehicular accidents, which resulted in her being unable to form new memories and waking up each day for over 20 years thinking it was still 1994. "50 First Dates" isn't explicitly based on a true story, but the similarities between these two stories are noticeable.

As the years have gone on, other stories of similar amnesia cases have also popped up after the release of the film (per The Express Tribune).

50 First Dates was one of the first movies released on Blu-ray

Right now, you can catch "50 First Dates" on several digital media platforms and streaming services. These days, it can be hard to remember the time when discs ruled the world. DVDs went mainstream around the turn of the new millennium, but it wasn't long before high-definition formats began competing to succeed them. Winning the format war (as documented by ScreenRant) would be Blu-ray, a Sony product that completely wiped out the competing HD DVD products. Sony's access to an impressive film library (the company owns Columbia Pictures) and ability to implement Blu-ray playback into the PlayStation 3 made for a decisive victory.

Blu-ray discs were officially launched by Sony in June 2006. Several big Sony Pictures films were released on the format for early adopters, and one of those films was "50 First Dates." Since Adam Sandler films were mostly consistent money makers for Sony before he made the jump to Netflix, it's not surprising that one of his more well-received films who be part of their debut home media platform.